Squadron RNZAF Association
Message to 2016 AGM
The Association is strong with 537 current members on
the database, 520 of them with email addresses for easy contact.
It is good to exchange messages through the year and to receive a
steady trickle of new registrations, contributions and enquiries via the
website. Sadly, we also have a few notifications every year about former
members who have passed away, and we make an effort to keep our Last
Post pages up to date for your information. I
send a condolence message on your behalf whenever practicable and
invariably receive a warm response.
Service on 5 Squadron, and in the RNZAF, counts highly in most
members’ life experiences. This
year we lost at least seven good men who represented service from the
earliest days of the Catalina Squadron in the Pacific, through the
Sunderland years and over many years of P-3 Orion operations. We
honour their memories and continue to feel kindly towards their
The association’s website is excellently maintained
by Pete Culpan email@example.com
and has a wide selection of news, reference material and links to a great
many useful sites. The website is used by viewers from all corners of
the globe and an occasional explore is well worthwhile.
People also use it to keep current links with air force and
defence publications. news clippings and Facebook pages for the latest
happenings. Current articles by squadron members are always appreciated.
The squadron has enjoyed a good year of operations
and training with the P-3K2, and the completion of the second OCC has
added a newly-qualified crew of two pilots, three AWOs and eight AWS to
Nearly half of its flying hours this year, and over
100 missions, were consumed by Operation TAKAPU in the Arabian Gulf and
Indian Ocean. The pressure of extended deployments on those crews, and
their families at home, has been very bravely borne. We understand, and
respect, their service and dedication. Some of their successes and
well-earned operational commendations from allied forces have been well
publicised but we all know that these successes depend so much on the
dedication and singular skills of a very few loyal men and women.
I doubt the politicians have ever understood this tenous nature
of New Zealand’s superb reputation in maritime operations.
Tasked patrols (for MPI / Fisheries and Customs) have
been conducted routinely in New Zealand waters, and 150 hours flown on
SAR missions in addition to occasional South Pacific deployments and
participation in Exercise BERSAMA SHIELD in Malaysia, submarine-based
GUAMEX with the USN and a bi-annual engagement ROKKIWI in the Republic
of Korea. The squadron also hosted two visits of a Falcon 200 Guardian
and crew from Forces Armees de Nouvelle-Caledonie, and a P-3C from 11
As 11 Squadron is soon to be re-equipped with a mix
of manned P-8A Poseidon aircraft and unmanned MQ-4C Tritons it will be
interesting to observe to the effectiveness, in this region, of an
operational model currently being considered by the RNZAF.
The squadron knows we are proud to support the unit
in any endeavour where our members can be of assistance.
The joint celebrations of the squadron’s 75th
birthday and the 50th anniversary of P-3 Orions entering
RNZAF service will take place on 23 and 24 September 2016. We will be
actively involved so please keep an eye on the website www.5sqnassn.org.nz
for information and developments. The
Laucala Bay Memorial project is very much alive in Defence HQ but firm
details await the outcome of further political discussion.
I will do my best to keep us all informed of progress. But I can
report that members’ contributions to Bee Dawson’s book on the
history of RNZAF units in Fiji have made for a first-class
story. The book is nearing publication.
Ragg AFC JP
23 February 2016